All were denied the truth until this story was written. The Knowing of Thomas James has come as a revelation to his descendants.
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For one branch of the family knew who he had been but knew nothing of what became him and another branch of the family had absolutely no knowing of their grandfather at all. The impact and implications of this story are being felt to this day. The story was written as the result of more than two decades of research.
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It was a story that needed to be told for the sake of the families. A promise to my own father for Thomas Albert James is my great-grandfather.
Thomas James Herold
Essentially this is a family history and that was its design, however, it was my opinion that many family histories have limited appeal to any but those connected. It was always my intention to take the factual bones of research and imbue them with the flesh and blood of feelings and emotions. I have tried to enter the hearts and minds of the many characters touched by these tumultuous events in a story that has appeal to all. Each of the characters in this drama is introduced as the family moves across the years toward the fateful point in time when the shocking events unfold.
For the family, the facts are presented in detail for all to find.
I make no apology for the creative licence taken in interpreting these events and attributing motives to those involved in this story. I have created my own explanation of the actual events portrayed in a way that I hope is attractive for readers who have no personal connection to this story. I have liberally included actual material as and when I felt it appropriate to do so with the generous support of the newspapers of the day. This is a fiction built on the truth of a very real story. Were this story to be played out today it would surely make the headlines and be fed upon by our salacious modern media.
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However these events were set in a time long passed, in the strict moral world of Victorian Australia at the opening of the twentieth century. My great grandmother and her children sought refuge from the humiliation of these events by moving to a farm on the beautiful Kalgan River twenty miles east of Albany. My grandfather and then my father, in his turn, farmed this property. Today my brother is the farmer and I too live on the property within sight of the original farmhouse and of the river. I am by profession a teacher of History and have worked for more than twenty five years at the main High School in Albany.
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Alan James. Mr James has been accidentally drowned. Body not recovered. Particulars posted today. Deep regret. Robert Hunter. These few words were to alter forever the lives of the James family. The true story behind these events ran in newspapers across the country throughout This truth was deliberately buried by Mrs James and the family; a taboo not to be mentioned; a mystery that remained hidden from successive generations for nearly a century.
The Reverend Thomas James was no ordinary rural parson. He had risen to the pinnacle of leadership of the church in Western Australia but was a controversial character at loggerheads with the hierarchy of his church.
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In the aftermath of the events of , the church records too were embargoed until the year such was the magnitude of his indiscretion. In Thomas James disappeared in circumstances that scandalized the church and shocked the family and society to the core. None of thirteen grandchildren ever knew their grandfather. All were denied the truth until this story was written. The Knowing of Thomas James has come as a revelation to his descendants.
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For one branch of the family knew who he had been but knew nothing of what became him and another branch of the family had absolutely no knowing of their grandfather at all.